Strobing, Highlighting and Bronzing Products for Dark Skin (NC45)

strobing products for dark skin mac dior benefit laura mercer

This new trend known as ‘strobing’ focuses on achieving a luminescent shine. This is the most frequently cited ‘example’ image.  And you can see that there’s a very white/pearlescent highlighted look without any contouring. I also highly suspect that it takes a lot of inspiration from Korean makeup trends which focuses mostly on the skin and brightening it. I’ve done a blog post on Korean contouring in the past which is here. This ice-queen/white mascara look definitely isn’t the best for women of colour but there are so many highlighting options in both the drugstore and high end that you don’t need to worry. This is the (almost) complete collection of highlighters and bronzers I own. And here’s the swatch fest:

Strobing:Highlighting for dark skin swatches
From Top to Bottom: Benefit High Beam, Benefit Watt’s Up, Laura Mercier Bronzing Primer, Physician’s Formula Sunset Shimmer Strip, Dior Amber Diamond, and MAC Mineralized Skin Finish in Warm Blend

Benefit High Beam is a great choice for those who don’t want a lot of shine or are just testing highlighting out. It’s like a sheerer version of Watt’s Up. It blends very easily and the brush applicator makes precision application easy.

Benefit’s Watt’s Up is my absolute favourite and will definitely give you the ‘white shine’ that’s popular in strobing. You just need to make sure you apply lightly as it can be a bit trickier to blend out.

Laura Mercier’s Bronzing Primer is one of the best ‘bronzing/glowy’ products out there for WOC. i’ve tried the Guerlain Meterorites (which did absolutely nothing for me) and the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders (which were okay, but powdery). But this just completely blows everything else out of the water. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for strobing as it’s very ‘warm toned’ but it gives me a healthy glow like none other. It also adds a bit of coverage, but I must admit since getting a bit more tanned it does seem a little light. If you’re darker than NC45 I’d be conscientious of what shade foundation you use with it. And being water based instead of silicone means that I never break out because of it!

Physician’s Formula Sunset Strip is my favourite drugstore find of the year. They do these shimmer strips in several shades but I highly recommend getting one that’s quite warm/golden. The colours are absolutely gorgeous and customizable. I use the top two for highlighting and the bottom ones as a blush/bronzer. You can find these at Marshall’s/Winner’s for $6.99 and they’re perfect for everyday use. Here’s a breakdown of the Physician’s Formula Sunset Strip Bronzer: physician's formula sunset strip arm swatches Dior’s Amber Diamond is nice but completely unremarkable. It doesn’t emphasize pores or look shiny, but the colour is quite boring for woc. Gold highlighters just look so much better than white ones (unless they’re heavily pigmented) on dark skin and I find the darker colours in this palette don’t have enough shine. I probably haven’t this one in a year and half.

MAC Warm Blend was unfortunately LE, but it’s also one of my holy grail products. The three shades are quite deep and rich but they look beautiful on both warm and cool skin tones. The gold is a great highlighter and the bottom two are perfect for bronzing when swirled. I recommend looking for similar shades to these for bronzing if you don’t like the idea of using a bronzing primer.

There’s also Bobbi Brown’s Shimmer Brick in Tawny (LE) which I recently picked up at the MAC Estée Lauder Sale for $25 (regular $54CAD). It’s quite pinked toned, so it may work better on cool skin tones and it’s looks gorgeous on my fairer Desi friend who’s NC40. In general I think the Physician’s Formula’s is pretty similar, although the two shades I have are completely different. Bobbi Brown’s is a little less shiny but for the price difference I’d go pick Physician’s Formula time after time. DSCF4242 Here’s a look I put together using Laura Mercier’s Bronzing Primer all over (no foundation – although I should have), Watt’s Up on my brow bone and cheek with the lightest shade in the PF Sunset Strip overtop. I also had MAC Mythology on my lids (would go with something less rosegold but equally as shimmery) and Dior Addict Ultra Gloss Flash in 234 on the lips. strobing for nc45 dark skin I hope this was helpful! xx Alyssa